Monday, November 26, 2007

Farm Fresh Holiday Shopping

Torrance Farmers' Market

Hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It's hard for me to believe that the holidays are really upon us, especially since Hanukkah starts next week! Yikes, I better get busy shopping!

A couple of years ago, I got to thinking about how I could make my holiday shopping not only less stressful and commercialized, but have it make a difference to our family farmers, while still providing my friends and loved ones with meaningful gifts.

That's when it hit me: shop fresh from the farm; it's a great way to help support our farmers and get some great gifts. Some of these include specialty meats, vinaigrettes, oils and herbs, ciders, olives, honey, cheeses, sauces, chocolate, candy, baked goods like breads, cookies, and cakes, kitchen utensils, bake-ware, cookbooks, kitchen linens, and wine.

Most farm gift shops also feature non-food items relating to food and agriculture including children’s toys and games, books, household and outdoor furniture, clothing, collectibles, garden products, statuary, pottery, fresh cut and dried flowers, wreaths, plants, videos/DVDs, t-shirts, stationery, art, wool, cashmere, candles, body products including soaps, lotions and shampoos, and arts and crafts.

For those who have the time to actually visit a farm, here's a link to a story I wrote that I have posted on my website listing some of the farms you can visit

For the rest of us, there are some great local, farm fresh options available at your local farmers' market.

Many farmers offer special pre-made gift baskets or boxes just for the holidays containing everything from natural dog treats and dog toys, to fruit baskets, and fresh flowers and plants. There are even hand-made soap baskets, pre-wrapped chocolates, or pre-packaged, boxed-sets of specialty grilling and cooking sauces.

It’s also easy-to-make a gift box, basket or gift pack and fill it with specialty olives, spreads and cheeses, jams, jellies, and dried apples, pre-packed or bulk nuts and dried fruits, or a bakery basket filled with bread, cookies, pastries or muffins.

Do you have a friend who loves fresh organic produce but can't always get to the farmer's market herself? You can give her a yearlong subscription to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.

A CSA is a farm that allows people to support local growers by subscribing to a farm that supplies locally grown, seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The CSA delivers weekly or bi-weekly boxes right to a customer’s front door or to a centralized location.

Tierra Miguel Foundation CSA has pick up locations all over the southern California area in Los Angeles and Orange Counties,

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